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Hedge fund loses lawsuit in Lee Enterprises takeover fight

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A judge has cleared the way for newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises to use a voting system that will ensure two longtime directors are reelected at next month's annual meeting.

That's despite the objections from a hedge fund that is trying to buy the company. The Davenport-based publisher says a judge threw out Alden Global Capital's latest lawsuit Friday.

The publisher of the Quad City Times and Dispatch-Argus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bloomington Pantagraph, Lincoln Journal Star, and dozens of other newspapers rejected Alden's $141 million takeover offer in December because Lee said it ``grossly undervalued'' the company.

Alden already owns more than 200 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.

Alden, which owns 6.3% of Lee's stock, says change is needed because the company has delivered disappointing results since buying all of Berkshire Hathaway's newspapers in 2020. But Lee has said it is making good progress in raising online ad revenue and digital subscriptions.

Lee's board has received support from two other hedge funds that hold stakes in the company because they have said Lee is worth significantly more than the $24 per share Alden has offered.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.